Russell Is Definitely Imprinted On Jackie

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I was first in the garden this morning. I wanted to check on our crow.

Hebe in Dragon Bed

This is a good year for hebes, as exemplified by this one in the Dragon Bed, where the crow was not.

Beside Shady Path

Our avian visitor was not along the Shady Path.

Brick Path

He was neither to be seen on the Brick Path;

nor in the Rose Garden, with its poppies and carpet roses, including the white, scented, Kent;

nor anywhere near the New Bed sporting clematises and erigerons.

Day lilies and geranium palmatums

The day lilies and geranium palmatums at the south end

Phlox Blue Paradise

and the phlox in the West Bed all reported his absence.

Crow

Silly me. I should have begun my search nearer the house. There he was, foraging among the paving stones. He was so keen to follow me about

that it took me a while before I could gain sufficient distance to focus on him with a long lens.

He remained firmly on the ground, so I didn’t feel he thought I was his Dad.

This all changed when his mother came out. He was on her in an instant.

No longer was it funny. Not wanting to be pecked again in the young bird’s effort to provoke her into regurgitating food for him, Jackie shoved him off and rushed inside. He followed her in and resumed his onslaught. The same thing happened when she went outside again.

The creature is definitely imprinted on Jackie. Perhaps fortuitously, Shelly, a little later, arrived to take her sister off to Somerset for the annual three day camping trip the three sisters share. We will see what effect the absence will have on Russell.

Russell? Well what else should we call him?

This afternoon I watched the momentous World Cup football match between Germany and S. Korea. After this, Becky arrived to take over administering to her Aged P while her mother is away. This will be the first time ever we have had a few days on our own.

We dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare.

 

Promise

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Today was ultra gloomy, but with promise of good things to come. Now it is much milder again, the garden appeared to have forgotten the recent day of frost.

I made a start on the winter clearance. A couple of weeks ago, Aaron had extracted a clump of badly positioned bamboo from the Oval Bed. I stuffed this into orange bags in readiness for a trip to the dump.

Next was pruning roses. I had expected to be cutting them right down, but there were so many freshly burgeoning buds, that this became a dead-heading exercise, as in these Absolutely Fabulous and Love Knot.

Some actual blooms, like the white Kent and the red Deep Secret, had survived the freeze.

Elsewhere, Vibernum Bodnantense Dawn is in bloom,

Clematis Star of India

and there are new buds on still blooming Clematis Star of India.

Japanese anemone seeds

The Head Gardener prevented me from waxing lyrical about the seeds of the Japanese anemones ready to be spilled for germination, by pointing out that in this country they propagate by means of underground tendrils.

This evening we dined on chicken, tomato, and mozarella pasta bake with peas. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Via di Cavello chianti 2014.

West Kennet Long Barrow

Drawn by the extravagant breakdance being performed outside our sitting room window by the unidentified peach rose, clearly far more resilient than plastic greenhouses, I ventured outside into the wild, weirdly warming, winds with my camera.

Rose peach 1

The rose surged backwards and forwards, defying my efforts at focussing;

Rose Summertime

those in their dedicated garden, where Summertime still has a presence, were more sheltered.

Rose Margaret Merrill

Margaret Merrill, lives up to her top autumn rose billing,

Rose Kent

and carpet rose Kent rivals the fallen beech leaves for ground cover.

With a warning of frost and maybe snow in a week’s time, it was probably apt that the batch of colour slides from December 1976 should contain snow scenes. That was a very cold winter following an extremely hot summer.

Jessica, Michael and I were staying with her parents in their beamed and thatched house in Wootton Rivers, Wiltshire.

Wootton Rivers

Wootton Rivers (Mark)

Mark Pearson, who, had he lived, would have been my father-in-law stands here in front of his home.

Snow on ironwork 12.76

The snow was not deep at this time, but there was enough to turn simple ironwork into bejewelled necklaces;

Snow on trees

to transform branches of trees into festive yule logs;

Snowscape

and ploughed fields, along which Jessica and Michel walk, into scenic Christmas cake icing.

Snow on Wiltshire Downs

Piper joins them in this picture. The boy to the left could be Jessica’s nephew, Tim Draper.

Michael on West Kennet longbarrow

Here, Michael trudges on after the others.

West Kennet longbarrow

We had, then unbeknown to me, found ourselves atop West Kennet Long Barrow.

The West Kennet Long Barrow is a prehistoric burial mound near Avebury. It is one of the largest and best-preserved monuments of its kind in Britain. Only the East Kennet Barrow is longer than this one’s 100 meters. Although we did not do so, visitors,can enter the barrow and explore five empty stone chambers in which humans were buried from 3700 to 2000 BC.

In all, the bones of about 46 individuals have been found in the chambers of the barrow. It appears that bodies were buried in social groups: the west chamber was mainly for adult males; the northeast and northwest chambers for mixed adults; the southeast for the old and the southwest chamber for children.

The tombs contained numerous grave goods, including pottery of various kinds (fragments of 250 different vessels were discovered); beads made of bone, stone and shells; flint tools; and animal bones. The pottery spans a long range of time, from the Earlier to Late Neolithic periods.

I didn’t know the amount of history that lay beneath us.

This evening we dined on the last of the shepherd’s pie; extra mashed potato, a steamed cauliflower and Brussel’s sprouts, all flavour retained. Apple and raisin cake with cream was to follow.

The Wind That Shakes The Barley

Jackie is gradually sifting the old compost which still contains rubbish and woody material, to produce, with the addition of bonemeal, rich compost for the rose garden. We applied some today. Rose Magic carpet

The scented ground cover rose, Magic Carpet, attracting numerous bees, is spreading nicely;

Rose Kent

Kent has begun its second flush,

Rose Golden Showers

and the climber, Golden Showers, has produced its first bloom.

On this dry, blustery morning, I walked to the paddock in Hordle Lane and back. The horses, intent on grazing, kept their distance.

Horse in rug

One wore a rug;

Horse in fly mask

one, a fly mask;

Horses

and the third was unprotected.

Barley

220px-The_Wind_That_Shakes_the_Barley_posterI fought my way through to the obscured footpath, which petered out along the edge of a barley field. As I watched the waving grain, I thought of Ken Loach’s wonderful 2006 film, ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’.

There are few films, these days, that stay in my memory, but this one certainly does. I recommend anyone to watch it, so I will not reveal the plot, but this is how Wikipedia introduces its feature:

‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a 2006 Irish war drama film directed by Ken Loach, set during the Irish War of Independence (1919–1922) and the Irish Civil War (1922–1923). Written by long-time Loach collaborator Paul Laverty, this drama tells the fictional story of two County Cork brothers, Damien O’Donovan (Cillian Murphy) and Teddy O’Donovan (Pádraic Delaney), who join the Irish Republican Army to fight for Irish independence from the United Kingdom. It takes its title from the Robert Dwyer Joyce song “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” a song set during the 1798 rebellion in Ireland and featured early in the film. The film is heavily influenced by Walter Macken‘s 1964 novel The Scorching Wind. Widely praised, the film won the Palme d’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Loach’s biggest box office success to date, the film did well around the world and set a record in Ireland as the highest-grossing Irish-made independent film ever, until surpassed by The Guard.

This afternoon we planted four more roses, and plonked a couple more. I will feature them as they bloom.

This evening’s dinner consisted of Jackie’s scrumptious chilli con carne (recipe), egg fried rice (recipe), and green beans, followed by rice pudding. Her accompaniment was Hoegaarden, mine Alexis Lichine Bordeaux supérieur 2013.